LIVE, TEACH, PLAY: IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO CATALYZE A REAL URBAN RENAISSANCE
A community that learns together thrives together. We know that education elevates students and gives them the tools they need to build themselves a more prosperous future. But what about our teachers? In Newark schools, only 19% of teachers live in the city proper.
KSS ARCHITECTS AND STUDIORON BRING THE BEACH TO BOK BAR
KSS Architects and design/fabrication collective studioRON have teamed up to bring the beach to Bok Bar, with unique, bespoke furniture. The installation, conceived as a new landscape at the intersection of ‘beach’ and ‘boardwalk’, provides a backdrop for summertime lounging at the venue, eight stories above the streets of Philadelphia.
A SUSTAINABLE ENGINE FOR INNOVATION IN PHILADELPHIA
The University of Pennsylvania’s new Pennovation Center is a rebel, a futurist, a disruptor. It’s a phenomenon of a building that is also a machine for sparking new growth in the fields of learning, commerce, and community across greater Philadelphia and beyond. What’s more, its bold approach to sustainability that leverages its industrial heritage as an engine for research and learning has earned it a LEED Gold rating.
A FUTURE HOME: TWO DOZEN STUDENTS EXPLORE 377 WASHINGTON UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Donning hard hats and construction vests, Uncommon School’s 9th-grade engineering students joined KSS Partner Matt McChesney and Project Architect Mounir Tawadrous on a site tour of their future high school. For one day, the bustling construction site transformed into a hands-on, interactive classroom, bringing project lessons learned and best practices to life through conversations among architects, contractors, and students.
Workplaces that Inspire
Good workplaces are many things—welcoming, vibrant, light-filled, and driven by a mission. They promote well-being. At their essence, they provide a comfortable environment where service is at the forefront.
At KSS, good workplaces come to life through our design process, where we work hand-in-hand with clients to craft designs that are economical, sustainable, and reflect the dignity of both employees and those being served. We believe a great workplace can be the heart of urban renaissance—places where people can come together to live, work, play, and collaborate.
Here’s a collection of some of our favorite workplaces designed with innovation, tact, and intuition to achieve our clients’ vision.
A Renaissance for Camden
Decades of stalled starts are giving way to a new era in Camden development. Business, grassroots activities, plans to attract new residents, and a focus on education are uniting to craft a robust, multiprong approach to change.
Design for People with Special Needs
We believe that environments can fundamentally alter the behavior of individuals with ASD, and that, all too often, individuals find themselves struggling against the parameters of a space. Building ASD-friendly environments has become part of our vocabulary.
What is an urban food desert? Often located in low-income, high-development areas urban food deserts or “nutritional wastelands” are running over with fast food restaurants and expensive convenience stores, but little to no affordable healthy food options. For the folks who live in these areas the fresh produce that does exist is outrageously expensive, which makes the trip to the corner fast food restaurant more appealing and economical. As one of the leading issues facing New Jersey, much has been said about the concept of urban food deserts. According to the federal government, New Jersey contains 134 “nutritional wastelands.” How can New Jersey solve this problem locally? Enter the entrepreneurs.
How did 19 high school students design a 60-floor, mixed-use tower in Center City, Philadelphia?
And how was it one of the “Most Innovative Hands-on Projects,” as recognized by the White House’s US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards Program?
Certainly, support from the students’ personal lives, accessibility through the ACE Mentor Program, and seven A/E/C professionals dedicating their free time to engage young minds helped. Half a year of team-building with hands-on exercises, interactive brainstorm sessions, extensive guidance on technical process, and successfully unleashing the creative prowess within the high school seniors paved the way to the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The recognized project, Comcast Tower II (Re-imagined), was the brainchild of 19 students (“ACE Team 6”) from G.W. Carver High School of Engineering & Science in North Philadelphia. During 15 sessions over the course of six months, mentors from KSS, Gilbane, Keast & Hood, and Schrader Group exposed students to a broad spectrum of design-related issues.
Breaking Down Campus Walls
When university expansion provides tangible improvements to the community and engages community in the planning process, everyone benefits. Community resistance becomes community support. The Charter High School and West Side Campus are models of this approach and provide a new, positive meaning behind the phrase “town and gown.”
A Community of Care
No longer is childcare for young children simply babysitting. Today’s childcare centers are dynamic places of learning. They are real educational facilities where children grow, play, socialize and share, and where families receive holistic support, guidance, and care. More than just a place to pass the time while mom or dad are at work, they are community-oriented anchors activating and rejuvenating neighborhoods, towns, and cities.